May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and this year’s theme is ‘Building Connections’. How do connections between humans typically start? Through communication early on in life. Unfortunately, communication disorders can often interfere with building meaningful connections, especially if they’re left untreated.
Many observant parents notice subtle clues early on in their child’s development that indicate they may have speech, language, or hearing problems. Yet, they sometimes ignore these signs thinking that their child will simply ‘grow out of it’ as they get older.
If YOU have concerns about your child’s ability to communicate, we’d like to encourage you to seek professional help early on. Communication disorders, which can include childhood hearing loss, can often be solved or at least treated effectively when they are discovered early.
Why is early intervention for communication disorders important?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has determined that early diagnosis and treatment of childhood communication disorders can:
- Maximize your child’s chances for success. Regardless of the specific communication disorder, early treatment can play a critical role in your child’s development. After all, much of a child’s success in later years depends on their physical and social development before starting school. Early intervention services can even help prevent the need for school-based services later on.
- Save you time and money. Many communities offer free or low-cost early intervention services for children younger than 3 years old. Utilizing these services for diagnosis and/or treatment of communication disorders may reduce or eliminate the need for higher cost medical visits later. And, the disorder itself may be treated more quickly in its early stages rather than waiting until other parts of the child’s development have been affected.
- Promote kindergarten readiness. There is more expected of kindergarten children now than there has ever been in the history of our country. Early intervention of communication disorders can help to prepare them for what will be required of them to attain academic success.
- Set your child up for lifelong success. While most parents want only the best for their children, they may not always know exactly what that means. When it comes to communication disorders, that means acting early to identify potential signs and seek professional help. Doing so can be the foundation for a successful life, not just in school but also in relationships, social environments, and the workplace.
What to do if your child has a hearing problem
A good portion of effective communication includes the ability to hear. If you suspect that your child has hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with one of our audiologists right away. We can provide a thorough hearing evaluation and recommend treatments such as hearing aids, assistive listening devices, or even surgery in some cases.
The bottom line with communication disorders is that the earlier they can be identified and treated, the better equipped your child will be for life in general. Set your child up for success by seeking early intervention today!
For more information on early intervention and Better Hearing and Speech Month, visit the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association here.